How to Boost Sales by 272% Using Targeted Coupons

The Smart Bars FilterGrade used to massively increase their sales from social media and other referrers

While increasing email signups is one of my primary focuses, I also like to focus on increasing the conversion rate for sales on my site.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want more sales for the same amount of traffic?

I’ve optimized landing pages, improved the copy on products, and cleaned up the checkout flow...

The problem is none of these have had the mind-blowing results I was really hoping for. They were important and had to be done, but they were a bit boring and barely moved the needle.

So I decided to try something a little different (and more fun) just to see what would happen.

After being amazed by the case studies I was reading about SumoMe, I decided to give the Smart Bar a chance, but with a slightly different approach.

Rather than attempting to get more email subscribers or social media followers, I wanted to direct more visitors to our shop in hopes of converting them into paying customers faster.

This is how I directed more visitors to our shop and, in the first month alone, increased conversions by 272% using targeted coupons.

The Idea

The idea for this entire experiment actually came to me after FilterGrade was featured on ProductHunt.

photoshop filtergrade

I wanted to see if there was a way to convert all that traffic and attention into more than just brief, transient visitors.

I had limited time and development resources, so on the day we were featured I quickly installed SumoMe and set up a Smart Bar that looked very similar to this:

producthunt discount

This simple little bar helped us:

  • Convert 2% of all PH Referrals into new customers. (this equated to over $500 in sales)
  • Get featured here and here because of the exclusive discount, which led to more new customers.
  • Expand word of mouth and social media attention to our site even more.

This data was from launch day alone too. Over the past five months, that same bar has continued to convert visitors into new customers. And all of that was made possible by the power of a targeted Smart Bar.

I eventually repeated this tactic on numerous other referral sources, which let me get the 71% boost in conversions I mentioned at the beginning.

Here’s how you can do it too.

Implementing the Targeted Coupons with Smart Bar

This is one of the easiest experiments I’ve implemented on FilterGrade to date, and one of the most effective when you consider the results it had.

Step 1: Identifying our biggest sources of referral traffic. (Facebook, Pinterest, CreativeBloq, etc.)

google analytics conversions acquisitions

This was just a matter of opening up Google Analytics and reviewing the previous month’s data.

I looked at the best referrals, social sources, and ad sources for this experiment. For reference, this experiment started on August 1, 2015 and the data pictured above is from the month of July.

Step 2: Setting up unique campaigns and bars for each of these sites.

top referrers

After identifying Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and ProductHunt as some of our top referrers, I decided to start with those. These were easy to test because we continuously see new traffic from them and could get a lot of data in a short amount of time. They also have audiences that are familiar with coupons and incentives so it was a naturally good fit.

However; since expanding the targeted coupons and Smart Bars to other, more niche referrers I’ve found coupons generally work well as long as the audience of those referrers is somewhat interested in your products.

Next I put together a few of the initial smart bars.

smart bars

I decided to keep the bars simple with a focus on appealing to the user in three unique ways:

  • Familiarity - Using brand colors/language from the referrer we were targeting.
  • Incentive - Using high-value coupons to initiate action more quickly from the user.
  • Simplicity - Using straightforward copy with a clear CTA to make it easy and low pressure on the user.

Once the bars were made, I just had to set each campaign to only display on the associated referral source, like this:

Facebook display rules SumoMe

Step 3: Creating coupons to match the campaigns and help with tracking/analytics.

Creating coupons to match the campaigns and help with tracking/analytics

Finally, I created some coupons to go with each of the campaigns. We use WooCommerce on FilterGrade, but you can create coupons pretty quickly with almost any eCommerce providers.

One benefit of going with this targeted setup is that you avoid overuse and abundance of coupons and help keep your brand intact as opposed to just showing everyone the same coupon. It can also be easily adjusted to fit your products needs as your business and brand change over time.

If you have limited margins I definitely recommend using lower discounts, somewhere in the range of 10% - 20%. These are still * *incredibly effective ** at converting new customers. I decided to use coupons of 50% during our initial tests mainly due to the fact that we have a little more breathing room with digital products.

No matter the case though, you can use coupons of varying denominations and see results for your business.

The Sweet Results

My favorite part of every marketing experiment is the sign of results! What better sign than a flood of new sales and customers to work with?

In the first month our conversions jumped 272% according to Google Analytics. This was totally unexpected and just utterly blew me away. I did expect some results after what had happened with ProductHunt, but nothing to this extent. Overall the experiment improved conversions by 272% from all social referrals.

social network acquisition behavior conversions

Unforeseen Benefits

This experiment and little side project had some amazing unforeseen benefits that came with it. Not only did it boost conversions by 272% in the first 30 days, but it also affected other aspects of our business.

  • Our advertising campaigns on social media were performing more effectively.
  • There was a steady increase in people visiting and spending time in the shop.
  • Users were paying attention to the message and didn’t always have to click the button on the Smart Bar in order to see and use the coupon.

Going Forward

This experiment taught me a lot about conversion testing and ultimately has helped FilterGrade in a very long term way. The fact of the matter is, you can use the Smart Bar a hundred different ways and still get incredible results. When focusing specifically on improving conversions though I suggest trying this method out.

Identify your top sources of referral and social traffic, set up a few Smart Bars and coupons, and see what happens. It doesn’t take a lot of time and is not costly or hard to implement at all.

Here’s one final quick example of how you can test this out for your own business in an easy way.

During this year’s ‘Black Friday Weekend we ran a little sale. To help get the word out to all of the new visitors I put together a Black Friday Smart Bar. Using the exact same ideas and processes from the previous experiments, we were able to get some pretty good results for the sale.

black friday weekend sale

Over the course of the entire holiday weekend (Black Friday - Cyber Monday) the bar was seen by more than 5,000 people and sent 44 additional visitors to the shop. This may not seem all that significant, but keep in mind the value of this at scale. Almost 50 people who may have never known about our Black Friday Sale were now exposed to it and were one step closer to converting.

black friday weekend sale smart bar conversion

This, in combination with discounts, countdowns, and other conversion boosters can have some pretty powerful results.

Give Smart Bar a go and turn your new visitors into converted customers faster!

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